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Mitchell croons, courts Rochester audience Print-ready version

by Patty Ryan
The Bona Venture
February 15, 1974
Original article: PDF

By PATTY RYAN And JIM VAN DEVELDE

And the moon swept down the black water like an empty spotlight
Joni Mitchell "For the Roses"

That Thursday night in the Dome Arena in Rochester, Joni Mitchell filled that empty spotlight.

She sang for close to two hours, her voice going from fast to slow and high to low, all which put the capacity crowd under the spell that her music and voice weave.

Tom Scott and the L.A. Express started the show by taking the audience on a blues-jazz ride. Their excellent sax and flute playing makes for interesting instrumentals.

Scott, who played woodwinds and reeds on "For the Roses" album, also does some arranging on "Court and Spark" album.

After Tom and his express finished their opening, they turned us over to Joni.

She picked up her guitar and took the audience with her on "This Flight Tonight". And we didn't come down and we never landed.

Miss Mitchell did a quick half hour then broke and returned for an hour and a half including a two-song encore. She told us of her life and career of her several attempted retirements, all introducing songs and revealing a part of herself.

Stories introduced her songs. She told us about parties and arbutus tress and people, and of course, how she felt.

You knew who the blonde in the bleachers was and who the woman of heart and mind was. You knew that she was human, she had doubts about her life and that's why she give us so much of herself in her songs.

Miss Mitchell sang most of the new album, "Court and Spark," much of the fifth album, "For the Roses," and some from "Blue."

Going from piano to guitar to clarinet [ed note: certainly a dulcimer, not a clarinet] and back again, she crooned such familiars as "Woodstock," "All I Want," "Clouds," and "Blue."

It was a disappointment that Miss Mitchell did not sing other old favorites like "Michael From Mountains," "I Had A King," and "The Circle Game."

All through the audience was quiet, subdued and listening.

Only when Miss Mitchell went offstage did the familiar foot-stomping, match-lighting, concert-rallying take over.

Encore. Quiet piano and "Blonde in the Bleachers." Silence. She stands up saunters over to the microphone and sings "Twisted" for the finale.

"The lights go down and its just you up there getting them to feel like that."
Joni Mitchell, "For the Roses"

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